Skin Purging: Things You Should Know & How to Minimise it?

Skin Purging

It’s always exciting to get new skincare products. There’s hope and expectation that the product will give you healthy, glowing and beautiful skin. However, the outcome may not always live up to your standards. At times, it can knock at your doors in the form of breakouts. You may confuse them with acne breakouts, but they aren’t the same. Before the detective in you starts connecting the dots, let’s reveal it to you. What you are experiencing could most probably be skin purging. Keep reading to learn more about purging!!

What Does Skin Purging Mean?

Skin purging is your skin’s reaction to new products that you add to your regimen or due to other changes such as facials. When you introduce a new product, the excess sebum, dirt, flakes and build-up that are lying underneath your skin rise to the surface.

Purging mainly occurs in reaction to chemical exfoliants and retinoids. Certain active ingredients increase your cell turnover through the process of exfoliation, causing these small bumps on your skin. It’s your skin’s way of adjusting to a new product before making it clear and healthy.

Does Everyone Go Through Purging?

Not everyone goes through skin purging because our skin types and conditions are unique. Hence, our experiences vary from person to person. Nonetheless, people undergoing detoxification (changes in lifestyle or diet) and those with frequent breakouts are more prone to purging than others.

What Can Cause Skin Purging?

Various chemical procedures and products can lead to skin purging; here are some of the common reasons.

  • Products that contain ingredients such as vitamin C, benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid, retinol, lactic acid and salicylic acid.
  • At times, facial masks and detox masks can also make your skin purge.
  • Exfoliators that have beta hydroxy acid and alpha hydroxy acid.
  • Laser treatments and chemical peels can cause skin purging too.

Difference Between Breakouts & Skin Purging

It’s easy to get confused as breakouts and skin purging may look similar. Also, any reaction from a new product isn’t necessarily skin purging. It can be a typical breakout, an allergic reaction or something entirely different. Therefore, it is best to see a dermatologist instead of assuming things. 

What Should You Do While Your Skin is Purging?

The answer to this question is not something you would love to hear, but you will have to wait. You may hate us for saying this, but apart from patiently waiting, there’s nothing else to do. Though, this includes visiting a dermatologist during this period. Meanwhile, there are a few points that you need to keep in mind.

  • Be gentle with your skin.
  • Keep your face clean.
  • Do not scrub your skin.
  • Keep your pillowcases and bed linen clean.
  • Avoid touching or squeezing the affected area.
  • Do not use any product that can cause dryness or irritate your skin.
  • Limit your exposure to sun rays as your skin is sensitive during this phase.

Can You Speed Up Skin Purging?

Unfortunately, there is no way you can speed up the process of purging. You will have to remain patient and follow the tips mentioned above and also the ones suggested by your doctor. Generally, purging may end within 4-6 weeks of starting a new skincare routine. In case it goes beyond six weeks, reach out to a dermatologist.

How to Prevent It?

Sadly, there’s nothing that can completely prevent purging, but you can surely minimise it. As you try a new product, do not rush. Slowly include the product in your routine and allow your skin some time to adjust. You can start by using it once a week, then twice in the second week and increase it gradually.

Summing Up

As funny as it sounds, purging is a great teacher for teaching patience and persistence. It can be annoying and tough to wait for things to get better, but you can welcome clear and glowing skin once it’s all over. Good things take time, and so does skin purging. Before that, you need to be sure that it is indeed purging that you are going through. Once that’s clear, you can consult a dermatologist who can offer solutions based on your condition.


  1. Is skin purging a myth?

No, it is not a myth. Please go through the blog to understand skin purging in detail.

  1. Can purging cause redness in your skin?

Yes, it may cause small bumps to appear and you may notice mild redness as well. However, not all redness that appears after using a new product is purging. When in doubt, always check with your doctor.

  1. Is purging a good thing? 

It is not a good or bad thing, it is just something that can happen in some individuals with certain products.The risk can be reduced by gradually introducing the product. 

  1. Is skin purging itchy?

Skin purging usually doesn’t lead to itchiness. However, every person has a unique skin type and condition leading to varied experiences. If you feel itchy after using a new product, check with a dermatologist to figure out if it’s due to purging or other reasons along with the right treatment. 



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Chaitali Nayak

A writer and a skincare fanatic, Chaitali believes that words and kindness can transform the world. She has a master’s degree in Advertising & Public Relations and has worked for various advertising agencies and digital marketing firms. With the help of expert dermatologists at CureSkin, she works towards creating content that helps eliminate misinformation related to skincare. The aim is to educate yet bring something exciting and new every time for the readers. When not busy writing, you can find her talking to her plants, eating, drawing or watching movies.